Bringing Programming to Life with Physical Computing

Explore how physical computing can be integrated into the curriculum to engage students in deep learning.

Great for
STE(A)M learning!

Discover how to bring programming to life with physical computing. Learn how to program a microcontroller in order to make a real-world prototype with electronic circuits. 

Due to the current shortfall of skilled programmers and engineers to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world, it is critical that we include manufacturing and computer science subjects in schools. Physical computing is a way to engage students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) learning, and in particular, Computer Science.

During the workshop, participants will:

  • explore evidence supporting the integration of physical computing into the syllabus and relevant pedagogical approaches
  • ‘taste-test’ and compare a variety of microcontrollers e.g. the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Intel Galileo
  • discuss and share ideas for teaching and learning
  • engage in hands-on activities that involve building, programming and working with electronic circuits and their components
  • explore examples and discuss ways physical computing can effectively integrate electronics and coding into meaningful learnings
  • access the MacICT resource website as an ongoing resource
  • design and make a real world device for the home using recyclable materials and electronic components.

Participants will receive a Freetronics Experimenter’s Kit for Arduino to keep! This includes all you need to get started including sensors, motors, breadboard, LEDs, project guide and more.

Audience: Secondary teachers.

Keywords: STEM, STEAM, Creative & Critical Thinking, Coding, Programming, Maker Ed.


This course has empowered me to be more daring with the incorporation of physical computing, encourage me to offer deeper and more challenging aspects of the class to my students…

This course provided real world examples that can be integrated into the classroom that are relevant to high school students.

This course will help me to implement STEM & STEAM ideas/projects into our library programs.


Sarah Boyd

Sarah Boyd

Developer & Facilitator

Dr Sarah Boyd is a LEGO® Robotics facilitator and part-time high school teacher of Computing and Mathematics. She has recently retrained as a teacher having had a long career as a software programmer and Electrical Engineer. She began facilitating at MacICT in 2014 where she combines her engineering and programming background with her love of teaching. She completed her PhD in Computer Science at Macquarie University in 1999.


Unfortunately there are no plans to run this course again. Apologies for any inconvenience.


How do I enrol?
Enrolment is through the MyPL system. Click on the Event ID provided and it will take you to the enrolment page. NSW Department of Education (DoE) teachers can log in using their credentials. Non-DoE participants need to sign up for a MyPL account in order to enrol. Click here for instructions, and click here for more information about MyPL for non-DoE participants.
How is payment taken?
If you are from a NSW DoE school, payment will be via direct debit and appear on your school's Sundry Tax Invoice Statement. Non-DoE schools and individuals will be invoiced. Please contact us to confirm your billing details.
How do I get there and do I need to bring anything?
There are many transport options. See our Contact page for more information. We will send out an email to all participants with parking information two days before the event. Please look out for this email and read the instructions carefully. All equipment will be provided unless otherwise advised.
What if I cancel or don't show up?

You can delete your own enrolment through MyPL, however keep in mind any cancellations made within 2 days of the event or no-shows will incur the full cost, charged to your school. Please contact us if there are any issues with your attendance.

What's a follow-on component?

Some of our courses include a follow-on component to be completed by the participant in their school context with the aim of transferring the new practice to their teaching and learning repertoire. These deliverables are included as part of the course hours and are designed to engage teachers in real ‘learning through doing’ leading to improvement in the skills and capabilities of teachers. This is an opportunity for you to have some time to take what you learned during the workshop and apply it to your own context and your own students. Details of the follow-on will be emailed out to all participants. The deliverables must meet the following Criteria:

  1. Product (this may refer to lesson plan, unit of work or other digital product)
    1. evidence of creativity;
    2. planning and/or design;
    3. incorporation of key ideas in the course;
    4. integration of technology; and
    5. a published/shared product that is appropriate to audience, purpose and context.
  2. Online Interaction
    1. peer feedback; and
    2. community building.
  3. Personal Written Reflection (200 words):
    1. Reflect on the learning experience gained by participating in this course, including the deliverables, OR reflect on your classroom practice (including a description of the pedagogical approach, delivery and implications for the future); AND
    2. Reflect on how you achieved one or more of the specified professional learning standards.
More questions? Contact us.

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